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HMRC urges more than 220,000 businesses to migrate to new customs system.

Import and export businesses in the UK have been told they must migrate to a new, more sophisticated customs system.

HMRC says its Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system, which records the movement of goods by land, air and sea is being replaced with a more streamlined system.

Why is the move important?

The tax authority has contacted more than 220,000 VAT-registered businesses, urging them to move to the UK’s Customs Declaration Service (CDS) before 30 September, if they haven’t already done so.

HMRC said it is a move towards the Government’s vision of a Single Trade Window and will represent a significant upgrade by providing businesses with a more user-friendly system.

To continue trading goods internationally, businesses must use the new system to make import declarations after 30 September this year.

What are the deadlines?

On 31 March 2023, the CHIEF export systems will be decommissioned and all imports and exports will need to be declared using CDS.

Businesses with a customs agent must make sure they are ready to make their import declarations on the CDS by 30 September, but those without an agent must make their own declarations using software that works with the system before the deadline.

Larger businesses, such as freight forwarders and hauliers, must start working with their software developer, community service provider or agent to begin the migration process now.

Businesses are advised to start the process now

Carol Bristow, HMRC’s Director General for borders and trade, said: “It takes businesses time to move across onto the Customs Declaration Service depending on the size and nature of their business so they must start the process now to ensure that they are fully set up ahead of the 30 September deadline.”

HMRC says postal operators, such as Royal Mail, will continue to make customs declarations on behalf of UK small businesses who receive goods from abroad by post and inform them of any tax or duty owed.

For advice on related matters, please get in touch with our team today.

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